Image by Russ, via Wikimedia Commons.  Accessed 08.05.2018


As a relatively low-profile monarch, very little public discussion takes place with regards to the management of Sheikh Khalifa’s private wealth. Research by Shadow Governance Intel has found evidence to suggest that the President entrusts others with responsibility for large portions of his assets; leading to questions around who exactly influences the transactions made in his name, and the (understandable) opacity surrounding royal finances in the UAE more generally.

Emir of Abu Dhabi, President of the United Arab Emirates, and head of the Nahyan family; Sheikh Khalifa also happens to be one of the world’s richest men. Forbes estimated that his wealth stood at U.S. $15 billion in 2011, although this was a rather conservative estimate given his Chairmanship of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (“ADIA”), which manages close to one trillion dollars in assets.

Control and oversight of Khalifa’s sprawling bundle of wealth is at the heart of investors’ intrigue regarding the UAE’s power players – for good reason.

Impact Points

  • Abu Dhabi’s Emir is one of the wealthiest men in the world, with a portfolio in the tens of billions of dollars. The management of his funds is therefore a source of intrigue, even more so due to its opaque nature.
  • Documents show that an individual named Mubarak Saeed Al Ahbabi has been entrusted with the President’s estate, although little is known about his background and official positions. Not only is it an extension of prestige, but it also reveals a power player who may otherwise be glossed over by foreign actors.
  • This raises the broader importance of financial conduits, and those who are used by Nahyan princes to control and oversee their assets. Wealthy princes rarely concern themselves with the details of their accounts, thus affording their conduits a great deal of trust and responsibility.